Summertime and the Livin’ is Easy — and the Reading is Fantastic July 08 2017
At this time of year being a teacher looks like a good career. After all, teachers “get the summer off!” Sure, they don’t have to show up at school every day, and sure they can wear shorts and sandals instead of dresses and collared shirts. However, once school ends, once reports are completed and meetings subside, the energetic work of preparation begins.
Through books galore, teachers travel to exotic lands from times gone by — India, Persia, Mesopotamia, Egypt and Greece if you are a rising fifth or tenth grade teacher — back in time to the reformation in Europe and the many wars around the world in the last 150 years if you are a rising eighth or ninth grade teacher — ‘round the world for the first conscious time with Magellan (was it worth it when so many died along the way?) if seventh grade will be you destination in the fall — back to the land of stories from before recorded history if you are starting as a first grade teacher — and lost in a miraculous world of new life in embryology if you are a twelfth grade teacher.
To be ready for classes in autumn, the reading is varied and enormous in volume. Finding the right books to make things clear and to decide on essentials is the task. Avoiding “rabbit holes” of wonderful books that end up off topic, or of getting distracted by favorites or compelling stories that don’t inform a topic are hazards that can leave a teacher like Little Red Riding Hood: in the wrong place and in grave danger.
The strictness necessary to read thoroughly and consistently leads to wonderful rewards: imaginative trips to faraway lands, distant times, and delightful discoveries that make modern science possible. It leaves a teacher ready and excited about the topics coming in the new year with an eager anticipation of how students are going to react to one aspect of the lessons being prepared or another.
Of course, Waldorf Publications has stock piled dozens of helpful story books, science books, math books, history books, biography books, readers, picture books, drawing books, modeling books, recorder books, singing books, books to help see children clearly, books to help with supportive work in the classroom, and books to connect to nature and to connect children to the glory of the abundant earth. Then there are science kits to help teach science effectively, and books that explain what Waldorf education is and how it unfolds each year with a new focus that matches the child’s unfolding self.
Summertime is a time of relaxation, of travel, of breathing in a different way, of daydreams and swimsuits and sun. If you are a teacher, summer give times to ponder, to study, to prepare, to breathe in deeply the mood of the coming year, to relax in order to take ideas in more deeply, to travel imaginatively to many places and times, and to play a bit and to swim a little too.
Where will your reading take you this summer? Will you travel to where teachers go? Will you and your youngster make magic with Harry Potter? Or befriend a Luck dragon in the Star Trilogy? Perhaps visit Prince Edward Island with Anne of Green Gables? Maybe fight noble jousts with King Arthur and his knights? Journey to the center of the earth with Jules Verne? Or help the elemental world in the dangerous task of refreshing the water in the Invisible Boat? Choose carefully, join the imaginative world with children and, above all, enjoy your trip!